Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy
What a lovely story! I must say, before reading this book, I had never thought too much about the Marilla character and what her backstory was. This was such a great rendition and I was entertained immensely with it. It did make me wonder what L.M. Montgomery’s version would have been. Would it have been similar? Or completely different? I enjoyed immensely seeing how Marilla’s and Matthew’s sibling relationship with each other was from when the book starts to the end, and leading into when we meet them again in Anne of Green Gables.
In this book Marilla’s relationship with John Blythe was beautiful yet heartbreaking all at the same time! On the one hand, I totally wanted them to be together; but on the other hand (reality) I knew that they wouldn’t be together and that they couldn’t so that John’s son and Anne could meet and write their own story.
“Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother has dies in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh.
In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy’s talent as a seamstress has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world.
Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables and discovers new friends and new opportunities. Joining the Ladies Aid Society, she raises funds for an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness—Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. She soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables. ” (Goodreads)
This is a must-read for any fan of the world of Green Gables!!
*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 5/13!!
The Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood
This was a really fascinating book! I don’t want to spoil the book for those who haven’t read it, so I’ll keep my post fairly general and spoiler-free.
This fictional book looks at the true-life story of the Dionne Quintuplets who were born in 1934 and were the first quints to survive. They became a national phenomenon and a huge tourist attraction. This story is told through journal entries and letters of one of the nurses who care for them.
The true-life story of these children is a sad aspect of Canadian history.
“Reluctant midwife Emma Trimpany is just 17 when she assists at the harrowing birth of the Dionne quintuplets: five tiny miracles born to French farmers in hardscrabble Northern Ontario in 1934. Emma cares for them through their perilous first days and when the government decides to remove the babies from their francophone parents, making them wards of the British king, Emma signs on as their nurse.
Over 6,000 daily visitors come to ogle the identical “Quints” playing in their custom-built playground; at the height of the Great Depression, the tourism and advertising dollars pour in. While the rest of the world delights in their sameness, Emma sees each girl as unique: Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Marie, and Émilie. With her quirky eye for detail, Emma records every strange twist of events in her private journals.
As the fight over custody and revenues turns increasingly explosive, Emma is torn between the fishbowl sanctuary of Quintland and the wider world, now teetering on the brink of war. Steeped in research, Quintland™ is a novel of love, heartache, resilience, and enduring sisterhood—a fictional, coming-of-age story bound up in one of the strangest true tales of the past century.” (Goodreads)
*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 4/13!!
Glass Beads by Dawn Dumont
This book was about 4 young Indigenous people who must adapt to living off the reserve, among the first in their families to do so. These stories interconnect the lives of these individuals and is set against the backdrop of the ’90s and early 2000s. The back of the book shares that “Dumont authentically reveals how difficult it can be to live in this world made up of rules that do not work for many Indigenous people.”
This book wasn’t a favourite of mine, but I was glad that I read it. It seemed, to me with my very limited experience, to accurately capture a credible image of life for Indigenous young people in that time period. If I’m incorrect, please let me know! I want to learn!
Dumont is a Plains Cree comedian and actor born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada. She’s new to me, never having read anything by her before.
*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 3/13!!
The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
What a great book! I’m definitely a fan of author Susanna Kearsley, and I love all of her books; and, this one has, page by page, made its way to the top of my fave Kearsley books! Another excellent read! The story kept me immersed and gave me just the right amount of chills, too!
“Archaeologist Verity Grey has been drawn to the dark legends of the Scottish Borderlands in search of the truth buried in a rocky field by the sea.
Her eccentric boss has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the lost Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he’s finally found it-not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has “seen” a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.
Here on the windswept shores, Verity may find the answer to one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time. Or she may uncover secrets someone buried for a reason.” (Goodreads)
*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 2/13!!
Sit: Stories by Deborah Ellis
A junior fiction collection of short stories, each about a kid. These ten kids find the courage to take control over their lives – in ways large and small! And, each story is centered around a chair or place to sit.
Such a lovely read, and one I can see myself going back to again! I also really loved the variety of story settings as we see kids with all sorts of different experiences and backgrounds.
And, a book about chairs, needed a chair featured in this pic! Leave it to the creativity of a kid to answer my request of “please make me a chair out of Lego for my Instagram/blog pic”! If you can find this book, please give it a read! It’s short and sweet but makes you think just a bit!
*My progress for the Canadian Book Challenge is 1/13!!
The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick
What a WONDERFUL book!!!! I absolutely loved it for a variety of reasons! First, main character Martha works in a library (one of my fave places). Secondly, she’s on a journey of self-discovery and there were many moments when I cheered for her as she stood up for herself!
A few key moments that stuck out to me. During the story Martha basically goes through rooms in her house and does a major clean sweep, getting rid of items she’s had for years. Love it when people do that! It’s so freeing! I used to work for a professional organizing company which I absolutely LOVED! It’s still one of my favourite things to do in my own home. I found this passage in the book which really resonated with me:
As she carried on with her mission, she imagined that she might feel sad, nostalgic or melancholic, but instead she found herself singing. With each item that Leslie removed, Martha’s shoulders felt lighter, as if she was casting off the person she didn’t want to be any longer.” (p 204)
Also, there’s a moment in the book when books as gifts are given to characters. It actually brought me to tears reading which titles were given to each character. Such fitting choices! There’s nothing better than a book choice that just feels right!
If you’re a lover of books and stories, you will love this one!!!! If anything I’ve written in this post resonates with you, also please read this book!
“Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people–though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her superhero-themed notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she’s invisible.All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend–her grandmother Zelda–who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.”
Red 5 gives this book a 5/5!!
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
I found this to be a pretty fabulous book! Not sure how it ended up on my TBR list, but I’m so glad it was! What a lovely book, had me in tears in a few spots, and generally an all around great book for lovers of books!
I read this book in less than 7 hours, in and amongst doing errands and basics like laundry etc. Love when that happens and I have a basically free day to just focus on reading! That’s how you make a dent in your TBR list, people! Making time for what’s important! 📚
I highly recommend this one! It’s a beautiful story, filled with a love for books! Please take a chance on reading this book if you get an opportunity! It’s a great one!!!
There were so many great moments in this book, and I didn’t take the time to write down any notes or quotes, I was just too engrossed. This one passage did stand out to me, though:
I love Island Books [the name of the bookstore] with all my heart. I do not believe in God. I have no religion. But this to me is as close to a church as I have known in this life. It is a holy place.” (p 257)
Something resonated with me as I read these words. I sometimes feel that way when I think of libraries, too! Will have to ponder this for a while…
“A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.
And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.” (Goodreads)
Red 5 gives this book a 4/5!!